This duck is endemic to New Zealand. It was discovered first by Captain Cook at Dusky Sound in 1773 during his second voyage. Cook called it the Painted Duck. They were not a common bird before settlement by Europeans but are now one of the endemic birds which has prospered with the conversion of native forest to pasture. They mainly graze on grass and weeds, or standing crops of peas or grain which can mean they often get on the wrong side of farmers, especially when they flock, sometimes in very large numbers, during the moulting season between December and February. Most paradise duck start breeding when 2 years old and pairs remain together from year to year, returning to the same nesting area. If one bird dies, its mate occupies the same territory and re-mates again.